Creating great graduates is why we do what we do.
AUT has a rich institutional history, stretching back almost 125 years, and for the last 20 we have been proud to be a university. We have outstanding alumni, students and staff who are central to this progress and it is only through their collective efforts that AUT’s reputation continues to grow. For this reason, this edition of Insight celebrates them and their connections with business and industry, community groups, and employers who have played a distinct part in the direction and effectiveness of AUT.
Since AUT was established as a university on 1 January 2000, we have undergone remarkable change and development. Still New Zealand’s fastest growing and second largest university, we became the third highest ranked university in New Zealand in 2018 and improved our ranking considerably in the Times Higher Education rankings as one of the top 300 universities worldwide, rising 350 places in just four years. This means AUT is in the top 1% of global universities.
This latest result is driven by improvements in our research performance, notably the impact our work is having on other research globally, which places AUT first in New Zealand for this measure. From just 23 research institutes in 2000, we are now home to more than 60 worldclass research institutes and centres, which provide research, education and mentoring in areas including engineering, tourism, sports science, artificial intelligence, journalism, social data analytics, stroke and applied neurosciences, and Māori language. In 2000, we had 334 peer-reviewed research outputs and in 2018 this increased to 2,125.
Building for the future
In our pursuit to create exceptional experiences, our physical space is evolving to keep pace with our changing needs. Within the last 10 years, we have opened three significant buildings: the Sir Paul Reeves Building at the AUT City Campus in 2013; the Mana Hauora Building, our first major development at AUT South Campus in 2017; and our latest state-of-the-art facility, the Ngā Wai Hono Building at AUT City Campus, unveiled in 2018, housing the School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences. Construction of North Campus’ newest building, A1, began at the end of 2019, and is the final facility project in our $370 million capital works programme.
Creating exceptional learning experiences
AUT’s mission is to create great graduates, and we continue to embrace new technologies to support learning and prepare students for the rapidly changing world of work and society – one we are unlikely to recognise in 20 years’ time.
Our learning experiences are characterised by contemporary approaches, technologies and resources that focus on creating great graduates who are educated and employable. Examples of this approach include the AUT Edge Award, open to all students, and the Beyond AUT Award, open to postgraduate students. These extra-curricular programmes help students gain a much broader understanding of their world through extensive volunteering, leadership, and employability workshops. We also have initiatives such as the X Challenge, created in 2017, to enable, empower and invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs at AUT. These programmes push students beyond their comfort zones, and encourage them to look at issues in ways that transcend disciplines and professions.
We have introduced new disciplines since 2000, including commercial law and business, oral health, podiatry, psychology, health promotion, paramedicine, engineering technology, art and design, and international hospitality management, and in 2020 our new architecture and future environments programme will welcome its first students. Ninety-four per cent of our students now study in degree and higher programmes, compared to 61 per cent in 2000. And we have an evolving student body, with a five per cent increase in international students in the past five years, up to 3,855 in 2019. The number of Māori students at AUT has increased 15 per cent since South Campus opened, up to 2,463 in 2019. For Pacific students, the number at AUT has increased 41 per cent, from 2,715 in 2010 to 3,838 last year.
Sustainability in action
As a university, we are aware that we have a specific contribution to make towards a sustainable future – through research, enquiry, analysis, discourse and debate, and through developing curiosity, critical thinking, and creative innovation in our students, acting on the understanding that all our graduates will be global as well as national citizens. In 2019, our social impact and commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals was recognised by Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, placing us 16th in the world, and we have been selected as finalists in the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards.
AUT has been implementing resource reduction initiatives since the late 2000s and our Sustainability Roadmap, launched in 2018, gives us a clear direction for future improvement. One example is reducing food waste in our campus cafes and restaurant, including compostable packaging, organic waste collections and fairtrade coffee. Another area of focus is reducing energy consumption, costs and CO2 emissions. Buildings have been designed or modified to include energy efficiency measures and New Zealand’s first electric bus, which reduces CO2 emissions by 80 per cent, was also introduced to AUT’s shuttle fleet in 2018. These initiatives, as well as others across the University, have reduced CO2 emissions by 181 tonnes since 2016. While there is still work to do, it is great to be able to celebrate the steps we have taken towards creating a sustainable future for people and the planet.
While we acknowledge and honour 20 years of success, we also look forward to 2025 with our focus remaining on creating great graduates. We will continue to work together and across disciplines in teaching, research and with industry, offering a rich educational experience for students and alumni to make an impact on the changing world.
We thank you for being a part of AUT’s journey and we hope you stay with us for another 20 years and beyond.
Auckland University of Technology